Texas Legal Legends

In an effort to preserve their stories in an entertaining and historically significant way, Harper Estes, Immediate Past President of the State Bar, has interviewed a number of notable and distinguished Texas lawyers. Three new videos in the “Texas Legal Legends” series are now on the State Bar’s website: interviews with former State Bar Chair of the Board Kleber Miller, former President of the State Bar Charles L. Smith, and the late Houston litigator Joe Reynolds.

Law Day at the Texas Law Center

Harper Estes and Law Day essay winnerThe State Bar of Texas celebrated Law Day today at the Texas Law Center in Austin with a ceremony to recognize Texas students and their award-winning projects on this year's Law Day theme, "A Legacy of Liberty: Celebrating Lincoln's Bicentennial." Students from across the state showed their creativity and thoughtfulness on the Law Day theme through poster, photography, and essay contests. State Bar of President Harper Estes and President-elect Roland Johnson were on hand to present awards to the statewide winners. Prizes ranged from $50 to $1,000 with each winner also receiving a medal and a framed certificate. The essay contest winner, Veronika Johannsen (pictured with President Estes), of Memorial High School in Victoria, read her winning paper on "A Legacy of Liberty." (Go here for a complete list of winners.) The event concluded with a tour of the Court of Criminal Appeals and the 3rd Court of Appeals for the students and their families, and several students seemed very intrigued by the idea of sitting on the bench. 

2008-2009 YouTube Contest winners announced

Here are the official winners of the 2008-2009 State Bar YouTube Contest, "Ideals That Unite Us," in which State Bar President Harper Estes invited all Texans to contemplate the ideals that unite us as citizens of this country.

In the Over 18 category, the winner is Gabriel Evans' video, "Memories Unite Us:"

In the Under 18 category, winners for the second year in a row, the Chaumette brothers, Raphael and Alexandre, won with their video "Ideals: Every Citizen Counts!"

And the winner of the People's Choice Award is Manuel Hernandez's "Ideals That Unite Us - Raising the Bar for Justice:"

All entries were evaluated by a panel of judges to determine the winners of the Over 18 and Under 18 categories. The People's Choice winner was determined by the video that received the most views on YouTube.

Evans and Hernandez will receive $2,500 cash prizes for winning in the Over 18 and People's Choice categories.  And the Chaumette brothers will receive a $2,500 scholarship for winning in the Under 18 category.

All winners have been invited to attend a red carpet awards ceremony to be held in conjunction with next week's State Bar board meeting in Fort Worth.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this year's contest. We will announce the theme of the 2009-2010 State Bar YouTube Contest later this year, so stay tuned!

Throwing the book at them: Harper Estes recommends his favorite books

We asked State Bar President (and resident bibliophile) Harper Estes to name some of his favorite books. His selections, as of the time of writing:

Novel: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972 and should be read by anyone who loves either the American West or great writing.

Biography: Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert K. Massie. This book won a Pulitzer in 1981. It is very readable and covers a lot of history, both of Peter the Great but also that era of Russian and European history. Perhaps the best recommendation I can give – you won’t mind that it’s a very long book.

General History: Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954–1963 by Taylor Branch. This book won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for history and is the first in a three-volume history of the Civil Rights movement. It is thought provoking and poignant. It is one of my favorite books and would have to be to have me list it before Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson and the recent masterpiece Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Historical Fiction: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. My hands-down favorite work of historical fiction, this book won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The book is about the Battle of Gettysburg and sparked my interest in Civil War history. Shaara’s son, Jeff, has made a career of writing prequels and sequels; although some are good, they are no match for his dad’s great novel.

Books About Lawyers: Is there really any choice? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and became an instant classic. Richard “Racehorse” Haynes says every lawyer should make a habit of reading this book once a year. He is right.

YouTube Contest ends March 16

We're calling on Texans of all ages to enter our 2008-2009 YouTube video contest, "Ideals That Unite Us." This is part of our public education campaign on the importance of the justice system.

What are the ideals that unite us as citizens of this country? Tell us in a three-minute-or-less video and you could win one of three $2,500 prizes. All are invited to enter, including groups like classrooms and law firms. We know Texans are a creative bunch, so give it a shot.

Rules and details are here, entries are due March 16

Call for entries: 


Last year's People's Choice: